By Joan Cassell

Anthropologist Joan Cassell enters the heavily guarded surgeon's enviornment to discover the paintings and lives of ladies working towards their craft in what's principally a man's global. Cassell the day-by-day lives of 5 girls surgeons over the process 3 years. the result's an insightful account of ways being lady impacts the best way the health care professional is perceived by way of colleagues, nurses, sufferers, superiors--and even through herself.

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With the first girl, who was about ten or so, she looked at her musical-note earrings and asked if she liked music ... " He was, too. She tickled him till he smiled, and then, while explaining what was going on, she kept stroking the baby's tummy and then hair, lovingly ... " When she went into a room where a boy was looking glum, she said, "Are you unhappy? " She kept on talking to him about what would happen to him when he was operated on [a tonsillectomy], till she got to the "popsicles" there for him, at which he cracked a smile.

45 Steering between biological essentialism and utter social plasticity, we can employ the notion of embodied identity to illuminate the workings of the social construction of gender. We need neither reject difference when we find it, nor insist on finding it. What we must reject are ideologies which maintain that difference is innately deep-or negligibly shallow. Difference may be deep, and difficult to alter or eradicate, yet it may not be essential. Gender is done, negotiated, socially produced, but it is real, as real as any other social phenomenon that struc- BODIES OF DIFFERENCE / 49 tures our experience, our bodies, our behavior, our values, and our lives.

Disembodied discussion of the social construction of difference ignores the depth, persistence, and power of difference. If we wish to understand it thoroughly, we must explore the embodied nature of identity and experience. For this, I shall make use of Pierre Bourdieu's concept of habitus. 39 "Habitus" might briefly be defined as embodied social structure which is passed on from generation to generation. The habitus shapes the body; at the same time, the body expresses the habitus. Habitus is not something that you think but is something that you are, and what you are is based on what you do, on the actions and reactions of your body.

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